This report was submitted to us by Corey Howard, MD, FACP, about the various uses of PROBAR® as he’s implemented it in his training for Triathlons and other endurance sports. Thank you Corey for the time you put into this!
By: Corey Howard, MD, FACP
Board Certified Internal Medicine
Member American College of Sports Medicine
Like everyone else who trains for endurance sports I have been looking for the perfect nutritional supplement. I have tried everything out there and then found PROBAR®. At first I was skeptical. However, after using the bars as a breakfast supplement before long rides and runs, on the bike during rides and as a recovery supplement I have become a believer.
It seems the more I train the harder it is to be hungry in the early morning before training. I experimented with many food groups and I have some favorites. One day I took a Whole Berry Blast PROBAR® and micro waved it. It was soft and delicious. I supplemented the bar with a banana and a glass of orange juice and I was off. That day was a 25 mile tempo ride with intervals and a sprint at the end followed by a 25 mile cool down ride.
Many days I don’t have enough time to wake up 2 hours before a training session to eat like I would do for a race. I felt great at the start and never felt a bonk or a lack of energy. I continued to drink as usual and was pleasantly surprised when I had enough energy to go strong throughout the entire training session.
When I examined the contents I found that Whole Berry Blast had 370 calories, 49 grams of carbohydrates, 18 grams of fat and 8 grams of protein. I was a bit worried about the fat since it can cause the stomach to empty slower. However, it seems that the sugars in the bar (from fruit, cane juice and brown rice) were easily digested and gave an immediate boost of energy, while the remainder of the more complex carbohydrates emptied and were digested slower giving energy later into the ride. There is a small amount of sodium and the 200mg of potassium is always welcome on training days.
PROBAR® as a Recovery Supplement
The next thing I tried was using PROBAR® as a recovery supplement. These days all you hear about is the 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein with recovery. This ratio aids in absorption of water through the intestinal tract as well as replenishing needed carbohydrates and starting the repair process with the proteins. This time I tried it after a hard 20 mile interval hill workout on the bike. I knew that I was going to swim in a few hours and needed to make sure I had enough energy. The only problem was that I had to get my kids to school and ran out of time to eat breakfast after the ride. In came PROBAR®.
I had a Kettle Corn PROBAR® 30 minutes after the ride followed by a glass of juice and a banana. I figured that gave me about 600 calories and about 100 grams of carbohydrates. I had a few pretzels in between and had no problem with a quick 2000 meter lunchtime swim. In this case Kettle Corn has 400 calories, 45 grams of carbohydrates and 10 grams of protein. That is the perfect ratio as far as I’m concerned.
Next onto running. Here is where it is really hard to get something to eat. I like to run about 10 miles each Saturday morning at 6 am. Sometimes I need to run 15-20 miles depending on the time of the season. I again tried a PROBAR® with the same results. I had plenty of energy, did not feel that I needed gels and just continued my normal hydration strategy. Best of all, I tolerated the bar well, which by the way, is a relatively small size for the amount of energy it holds.
I began to look further into the bars and found a few more added benefits that are not present in many other supplements that can be used by endurance athletes. First the bar is organic, it has healthy unsaturated fats (mainly) and many of the bars have a good dose of Omega 3 fatty acids which can aid with decreasing inflammation as well as improving heart health. The fats and dietary fibers in the bar are one reason for the longer lasting effect on appetite but the excellent ratios of carbohydrates/protein are what impress me as well. The bars are well tolerated, provide an outstanding energy source and are organic and healthy.
There is one other arena that I utilize PROBAR®. I provide nutritional counseling and have a weight management program. Much of my program involves education. I have begun to incorporate PROBAR® as a meal replacement in a few of my clients. I am hoping that it will help them regulate one of their meals and give them a good energy source so that they do not have to feel hungry all the time. I will report back on the results when they are available.
I have a multistage bike ride coming up which will encompass 9 days and about 600 miles. The riders (no pros) will be utilizing PROBAR® as a supplement during the rides. I will report how they fared at a later date. That will be very interesting since multistage riding/racing is very taxing and requires a close eye on the individual rider’s nutrition.
PROBAR® can be used as a breakfast item before endurance sports, can be used during long or intense rides and can even be used as a post exercise supplement. PROBAR® is an excellent meal replacement that should be considered by all endurance athletes interested in a big energy source that comes in a small package.
About the Author:
Dr Corey Howard is in private practice in Internal Medicine. He owns Physician’s Life Centers which designs wellness, weight management and nutrition programs as well as performing VO2 testing as a tool for cardiovascular fitness and training. He is past chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine at his local hospital, and past president of the county medical society.
Dr. Howard is a member of USAT, The American College of Sports Medicine, Gulf Coast Runners and the Naples Area Triathletes.